“Unrelenting in the best possible way.” That was the phrase that immediately came to mind as I walked out of Snowpiercer. At 2 hours and 6 minutes, the masterpiece by Boon Joon-ho, never loses momentum, just like the train that sets the stage for this post-apocalyptic thrill ride. Chris Evans, or Captain America as you may know him, stars alongside the entertaining Tilda Swinton, the eager Jamie Bell, and the wise John Hurt.
In this future, the world is frozen and the remainder of human existence (or planetary life) is aboard a train? Wait, what? Ok, so I’m not going to explain it because the movie does a far better job than I ever could. The director picked up a comic in a store and didn’t put it down until he read the whole thing. So, yeah, it’s captivating.
I’ve never quite understood Chris Evans prior to this movie. He was fantastic in Not Another Teen Movie as a parody of a high school jock, and has seemingly been cast in subsequent roles due to his “all-American” look and boyish charm. One of his dramatic turns was in Puncture, a fictionalization of the story of the safety syringe from the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. His persona, even at this point, overshadowed his performance. I attended roundtable interviews for the movie and he was not at all what I expected. Here was a guy who was not comfortable in the spotlight. At the time it was only announced that he was to be Captain America and he seemed to still be letting it sink in.
Fast forward to his performance in Snowpiercer. Wow. That not-so-confident actor from Puncture is no where to be seen. Instead of shying away from his emotions in his acting, he embraces it, embodying a man who has gone through hell, just trying to keep it together. His monologue towards the end nearly brought me to tears. This is a sci-fi movie and somehow it REALLY works.
Bringing an odd bit of comedy to it all is the almost unrecognizable Tilda Swinton. Her character provides an odd bit of dark and twisted comedy.
You may be tempted to see Transformers this weekend, but if you want real entertainment, spend your money on this.